ISIL militants attack ethnic Turkmen village of Basheer near Kirkuk, approach to Baghdad
KIRKUK / BAQUBA - Reuters / Agence France-Presse
Iraqi army soldiers stand guard at Tahrir Square in Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, June 16. AP PhotoSunni Muslim militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) attacked a northern Iraqi village inhabited by Shiite ethnic Turkmens but were repelled, police said on June 17, highlighting an upsurge of sectarian violence after stunning advances by jihadi fighters.
The militants were beaten back from the village of Basheer, 15 kilometers south of the city of Kirkuk after an hour of clashes with local militia and police forces.
The government of Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is seeking to repel the Sunni militants who have seized several cities over the past week.
Fighters from the ISIL and other Sunni militants have swept through towns in the Tigris valley north of Baghdad in recent days but appeared to have halted their advance outside the capital on June 16 as they tightened their grip on the north.
But on June 17, militants attacked and took control of parts of the central Iraq city of Baquba
The overnight attack took place in the centre of Baquba, capital of Diyala province, and according to the officers, saw militants temporarily occupying several neighbourhoods. But security forces eventually repelled the assault on June 17, army and police officers said.
The city, located just 60 kilometers north of Baghdad, is the closest the fighting has come to the capital since a major militant offensive swept down from the north last week.
ISIL's offensive overran all of one province and major parts of three more since it began late on June 9.